United States Takes Spot as 17th Happiest Country

First Posted: Sep 09, 2013 01:52 PM EDT

United States residents have an extra reason to smile according to a recent report released by Columbia University's Earth Institute. According to their findings, northern Europe received the highest satisfaction and happiness ranking in life, while Egypt and a few others hit the lowest since the Eurozone crisis via background information from the 2013 World Happiness Report released Monday.

When looking at a survey of over 156 countries, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden were ranked as the happiest places, and regions in Sub-Saharan Africa were noted as being the least likely places for overall life satisfaction, according to the report. The United States ranked in at number 17 in the survey in terms of overall happiness and life satisfaction. Unfortunately, it still didn't score quite as high as you might expect, especially when considering other places. For instance, Canada comes in before the United States at no. 6, Australia, no. 10 and so forth.

This survey looked at information between 2010 and 2012, following the first rankings from the Earth Institute that was released just last year.

While researchers note that many areas are continuing to see improvements and progress regarding ways of life, social and economic upheaval in some areas has caused disarray and problems that have prevented such changes.

For instance, the report shows that Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy all drastically fell due to the Eurozone crisis. Areas including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Myanmar also felt the political turmoil of recent issues.

The report notes, in fact, that of all places, Egypt suffered the greatest fall in terms of happiness.

"We expect, and find, that these losses are far greater than would follow simply from lower incomes," the report said, via CNN, noting that the greatest single factor reducing happiness levels in these countries was a reduction in people's perceived "freedom to make key life choices."

What freedoms might you take for granted in the country you're living in and where do you rank on the scale? Find out more, here. (And just in case you were curious about who hit no. 1, it's Denmark--just in case you're thinking about moving.

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